Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 32
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

Prudential Fox and Roach, Realtors

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Iris Interiors

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Downtown Construction: A Tale of Two Buildings

Dilshanie Perera

Projects involving two major additions to downtown Princeton are moving along at a steady pace.

Known as Phase II of the downtown redevelopment project, or “Building C,” the structure under construction situated on the site of the old Tulane Street parking lot is slated to be a five-story mixed-use edifice containing 53 rental apartments, as well as retail space and a small grocery store on the ground floor. Ten units have been set aside as affordable housing.

“Hulfish North,” or the Palmer Square project, involves the development of 100 units of housing in the form of 17 townhouses and 83 condominiums along Paul Robeson Place and Chambers Street.

Borough Engineer Chris Budzinski reported that both projects are being built by private developers, with Building C being developed by Nassau HKT (NHKT), and Hulfish North developed by Palmer Square Management LLC.

The former project hopes to have occupancy by the spring of 2010, while the latter is being phased for occupancy, with the first six townhomes occupied by the spring of 2010, and the remaining units progressively occupied through that year and 2011, Mr. Budzinski said.

Mediation between Princeton Borough and NHKT is still ongoing regarding Phase I of the downtown development, but regarding Phase II, Mr. Budzinski noted that “as part of the Developer’s Agreement and in lieu of taxes, NHKT will pay the Borough approximately $15,000 monthly for a ten year period.”

Though the final numbers have yet to be determined, approximately 48 of the homes in the Hulfish North project will be for sale, while 52 will be rentals, according to David Newton of Palmer Square Management.

Jay Goldberg, who is managing the sales and rentals of the units, remarked that the project needs final approvals from the state’s Department of Community Affairs, which he expects will be granted in late autumn. Until then, they can’t begin selling any units, or reveal details about prices, though he said it was “not an inexpensive product.”

Once the approval is granted, the information center that is slated to open next month on Hulfish Street around the corner from the project will become the sales center and homes will be sold and rented on a first-come, first-served basis. Mr. Goldberg expects the first families and individuals to be moving in by the middle of 2010.

With six different condominium buildings, aside from the 17 townhouses, the project will offer different options for residence ranging from a one-bedroom home of about 1,400 square feet, to a three-bedroom duplex that will be over 3,200 square feet. “We have a diversity of plans for a diversity of family configurations,” Mr. Goldberg said.

The project is the result of a 19-year-long approval process, with various changes and negotiations occurring along the way.

Mr. Newton noted that the private garage in Palmer Square was built with the capacity for 97 additional units of housing that were then yet to be built. Now, everyone who buys or rents one of the new units is guaranteed one space in that garage.

The affordable housing obligation created by building 100 units of housing was one point of contention while the project was undergoing approvals.

The final decision involves creating 10 units of affordable housing in Palmer Square. While the units will not be in the new construction, they will be distributed around the Square. “We have delivered five of those [units], and we are looking to deliver the rest as soon as possible,” Mr. Newton said, adding that afterward they “turn them over to the Borough” to find applicants and residents for the homes.

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